Rene was a remarkable and unusual child. From an early age—beginning in nursery school, he connected with others and forged relationships that would remain throughout his life. His village was created early; extended family and friends who followed his journey and supported his dreams. He connected to a variety of different sports throughout his life. He was a swimmer, skateboarder, and snowboarder not to mention a football and basketball enthusiast.
As lover of all sports, he felt most free when using his athletic talents, showcasing his abilities in the swimming pool, on his snow board and skateboard, or on the basketball court and flag football field. Sports-related activities also became a way to connect and broaden his sphere of friends.
He knew many of these sports were not readily available to every community but thought they should be.
As new people came into his life from different communities and experiences, Rene would incorporate them into his growing circle introducing them to snowboarding, swimming, skateboarding and more.
As a friend, Rene represented happiness and light. His friends shared that he was their “sunshine” because he seldom had bad days and was rarely angry or in a bad mood. Among his crew, he was described as Gorilla Glue, keeping the group together. He stuck to his friends, and they stuck to him often overlooking the trivialities that can break up friendships. He always inspired those around him to dream, dream big, and try new things.
Rene lived fearlessly and in search of his intention, not knowing he walked in his purpose as a shining example of fiercely loving those around you. Rene was a gift, belonging to God and not to us. His village continues to grow, and we are determined to share his joy and love of sports within our communities.
Like a shooting star, he entered the world unexpectedly, imparting beauty and light, and he left the same way—a flash of beautiful light whose warmth we were blessed to feel, know, and love.
He will continue to watch over us and with his glowing spirit. The Rene G. Haley Initiative is our way of making sure his name will never be forgotten.
The minute you get away from fundamentals, whether its
proper technique, work ethic, or preparation, the bottom can fall out of
your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you are doing.”
- Michael Jordan
MY BEAUTIFUL WILD CHILD,
I am so honored to have been chosen to be your mother. What an incredible time we have spent together, closer than most, you stayed under me a little longer than others would but, I never minded that. Thank you for spreading love, for encouraging others, for walking in your purpose even when you did not realize it. I will miss your hugs, kisses, smiles, crazy humor, smell, touch and so much more I cannot even explain it. My words are not adequate nor eloquent because I am broken hearted, but you know I trust God. I know it is well with your soul because your heart was gold. You my son were bigger than life…and so many of us benefitted from knowing you, loving you and being with you.
All I can do now is pray that I can honor your legacy and hold on to the unsurmountable memories you created for me. Fly high My Beautiful Wild Child.
Mom (aka) “Kickazz”
Rene learned how to swim at 3 years old and was part of a community swim team by the time he was 5.
He swam competitively in High School and although those early morning swim practices were not the favorite part of his day, he thought everyone should learn how to swim. He always said, “water is your friend, embrace it.”
Rene loved skating boarding as a child, especially all the tricks, jumps and spins.
He always tried to learn those first. He had recently reconnected with that sport and was learning how to enjoy it as an adult with one of his best friends and a few less tricks.
He was excited to see skateboarding was a new Olympic sport and one he enjoyed with one of his best friends.
We tried to get him to ski but he wanted to snow board as soon as he could walk. He loved the snow- covered mountains, traveling as much as he could to appreciate resorts across the country.
He wanted all his friends to learn the skill and travel with him to the slopes and experience the peace and beauty of the environment. But if no one would go or learn, because he was a snow board instructor as well; he went alone, because he wanted to keep improving on his skills (more jumps, twists, and turns of course).
We still have his tiny little jerseys, that he wore as a toddler and the treasured adult jerseys that he incorporated into his snowboard wardrobe. Basketball was an early passion.
He met some of his best friends on the courts and never stopped playing on inside or outside courts. He loved the game, he felt like it helped him grow, learn the art of negotiation, and he feared no man when he was playing!
FLAG FOOTBALL PLAYER
Rene loved the camaraderie of this sport and he worked hard as a young adult to improve his game. He played flag football with one of his best friends and he was serious about developing his skills and the discipline it took to work together as a team.